270 applications received for YES initiative

Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Faiyaz Koya outside Parliament yesterday. Picture: JONA KONATACI

Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Faiyaz Koya outside Parliament March 18. Picture: JONA KONATACI

A TOTAL of 270 applications have been received so far on Government’s Young Entrepreneurship Scheme (YES), says Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Faiyaz Koya.

Mr Koya told Parliament yesterday that since the YES initiative was rolled out in September 2017, the interest generated had been “phenomenal”.

YES is a Government initiative which was announced in the 2017-2018 National Budget which provides grants of up to a maximum of $20,000 to young entrepreneurs between the ages of 18-30.

With a total budget of $2 million, the YES initiative aims to assist young and budding entrepreneurs who have innovative and bankable ideas/projects which financial institutions are not willing to support because of lack of collateral.

While elaborating on the new Government initiative, Mr Koya said the roll out of YES involved a number of key activities, initially with an awareness and marketing campaign.

This was followed by the appointment of the YES selection panel members and its chairperson; the selection and confirmation of YES mentors; and the development of the YES website and online application system.

This later culminated with the official launch of the YES program in January where the first batch of successful applicants was also announced.

While the YES website had about one million hits, Mr Koya said a number of organisations had also approached his ministry to offer training for young entrepreneurs.

This included international agency Global Green Growth Institute; Asian Development Bank; Australian based training provider Project Everest and local training provider Loving Islands.

The ministry, Mr Koya said, also received 65 applications for training to assist young people in preparing their submissions for the YES.

This has also led to a local university designing a compulsory program specifically to prepare young people for the YES.

Mr Koya said his ministry also planned to upgrade its existing training facilities and would look to collaborate with the private sector in modernising its existing business incubation hubs.

“There are already plans to increase the number of training programs delivered for our young people,” Mr Koya said.

“A number of officers in the ministry have also undertaken business development trainings as part of the ministry’s capacity building to enhance the delivery of its programs, including the YES.”